By Daniel Benjamin
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was awarded for his huge performance against the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday.
Reothlisberger was selected as the AFC Week 14 Offensive Player of the Week, for the 15th time in his career, on Wednesday as he threw for 506 yards and two touchdowns in the Steelers 39-38 come-from-behind victory over the Ravens on Sunday night. He set career-highs in completions while leading the Steelers to a third fourth-quarter comeback victory this season—tying Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota for the most this season. It also marked the fourth time this season Roethlisbeger has orchestrated a game-winning drive.
“Ben’s a Hall of Fame quarterback,” said Antonio Brown. “He is so much fun to play with. He made some amazing throws. He makes them every day. He is a general, a warrior, a leader. I am glad I got to play with him for a lot of years.”
Roethlisberger, who has now surpassed the 400-yard mark 10 times for his career, is the first player in NFL to pass for 500 yards in a game three times. His other 500-yard plus games were against the Indianapolis Colts (Oct. 27, 2014), when he threw for a career-high 522 yards and six touchdowns in a 51-34 win; and in 2004 when he accumulated 503 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-36 victory over Green Bay.
Roethlisberger is playing the best football of his career lately. He has thrown for 290 or more yards in each of his last four games, racking up 1,446 yards along with 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
Roethlisberger is the sixth Steeler to win a weekly award this year. Le’Veon Bell (Week 6), Brown (Week 11) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (Week 8) and also have been named Offensive Player of the Week. Chris Boswell was selected the Special Teams Player of the Week last week while defensive end Cam Heyward has been selected Defensive Player of the Week twice (Wee 4 and 12).
Joe Haden returns to practice, hopeful to play
Haden returned to practice on Wednesday and there is hope that he will be able to play against New England. He practiced in a limited capacity. However, he did lineup with the first-team defense which is a good sign.
Coach Mike Tomlin said that Haden’s availability will be determined by “how much he does, what he does and quality of it ” during practice. Haden has been out since breaking his fibula late in the first quarter in the Steelers win over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10.
The Steelers have really missed the two-time Pro Bowler. They have surrendered 120 points along with 1,200 yards through the air in the four-plus games that Haden has missed. They also have given up eight passing touchdowns while picking six passes. Six of the eight touchdowns have been 30 yards of longer.
The two-time Pro Bowl selection is currently ranked as the 32nd best cornerback in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. He has recorded 16 tackles, one interception and five pass defensed.
In other injury news, reserve inside linebacker Tyler Matakevich (shoulder) was also a limited practice participant as he only partook in individual drills. Cornerback Cam Cameron (shoulder), wide receiver Martavis Bryant (non-injury), tight end Vance McDonald (shoulder) and Stephon Tuitt (illness) alo did not practice on Wednesday.
Steelers have the longest winning streak, surpasses the Patriots in power rankings
The Steelers head into their game against New England at Heinz Field on an NFL-best eight-game winning streak. The Steelers have earned three comeback victories during this stretch and have outscored their opponents 221-162. Pittsburgh has a plus-69 scoring margin on the season, which is sixth-best in the league.
Philadelphia has the longest winning streak this season at nine games. The Eagles (11-2) defeated the Los Angeles Rams (Sunday) a week after having their win streak snapped by the Seattle Seahawks. The Patriots (10-3) loss to the Miami Dolphins on Monday ended an eight-game winning streak for them.
As a result of the Patriots loss, the Steelers moved atop of the NFL Power Rankings.